Key words Congenital adrenal
Active renin concentration
Plasma renin activity
Mineralocorticoid replacement therapy
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract In congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency, measurement of plasma renin activity (PRA) has been the method of choice in diagnosing salt loss and in monitoring adequacy of mineralocorticoid replacement therapy. Due to methodological problems in PRA determinations, direct immunoradiometric assays for the measurement of active renin concentration have been developed. We measured PRA and active renin concentrations simultaneously in 39 patients with CAH (30 salt-wasting, 9 simple virilizing) to evaluate the potential role of this new method in the management of this disease. PRA was determined with an enzymatic assay (sample volume: 2 × 1000 μl plasma), active renin concentration with a direct immunoradiometric assay (sample volume: 2 × 200 μl plasma or serum). We found a highly significant correlation between active renin and PRA in our patients (P 〈 0.001), as previously shown in healthy subjects. Active renin was as reliable as PRA to assess the quality of mineralocorticoid replacement. Conclusion In children, active renin determination is preferable to PRA determination because of methodological advantages and a smaller sample volume. It correlates well with PRA and determines the activation of the renin-angiotensin system as precisely as PRA. Active renin determination is useful in the surveillance of mineralocorticoid replacement therapy in CAH.
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